Venezuelan Powerhouse Gang Expands Reign Across America

The brutal Venezuelan gang that has entered the United States through the southern border is now active in the United States.

The Daily Mail covered the case of an ex-Venezuelan police officer who had been tortured and brutally murdered on Miami’s streets.

Investigators believe that the 43-year-old Jose Luis Sanchez Valera was lured to a honeytrap hotel by a prostitute. Three men were waiting to ambush him.

Yurwin Salzar has been arrested by the police. He is suspected of being a member Tren de Aragua – a violent criminal group that originated in Venezuela but operates across America.

The Mail reported that:

Sanchez was beaten and tortured and forced to give up the keys to his safe and apartment, where his savings in gold bars were kept. The killers ripped through his house as his niece cowered under a bed.

According to court documents one of the kidnappers even boasted to her about being Tren members. Experts say that as shocking as the murder may seem, it’s nothing compared to the crimes of this gang.

InSight Crime, a website that investigates criminal organizations in Latin America, explained more about the gang:

Tren de Aragua, Venezuela’s most influential criminal group and the only Venezuelan gang to have successfully expanded its influence abroad. From a prison gang that was limited to Aragua to a transnational criminal threat with a broad criminal portfolio, Tren de Aragua has grown.

The group thrived because of the long periods of impunity that were fostered by President Nicolas Maduro’s government. It has also increased its presence and power by recruiting and forming alliances with small criminal gangs and creating cells in South American countries.

The group’s growth is partly due to the ongoing humanitarian and economic crisis in socialist Venezuela, where millions of people fled and scattered across South America.

Since Joe Biden became president in 2021, thousands of Venezuelans tried their luck by traveling through Central America to the U.S./Mexico border. They then entered the country, submitting most often phony asylum claims.

As is often the case, dangerous criminals with long criminal histories pass unnoticed through the border before establishing their operations in America.

VOA reported in October that Venezuelans were the most detained nationality for crossing the U.S. Border, despite that the Biden Administration had introduced more legal pathways for Venezuelans to enter America.

The report was made at the time.

According to figures released on Saturday, Venezuelans have replaced Mexicans as the most common nationality of those arrested for crossing the border illegally. This is the first time in history that this has happened. September was also the second-highest month for arrests across all nationalities.

The Border Patrol arrested 54,833 Venezuelans after they entered Mexico in August, which is more than twice the 22,090 arrests made in August. This monthly record of 33,749 arrests was set in September 2022.

Venezuelan gangs have spread their influence to the U.S. via the southern border, but they are not the only ones.

The 18th Street Gang, based in Los Angeles, has ties with Honduras and Guatemala. There are also several Mexican drug cartels such as the Sinaloa, Gulf, and Los Zetas.